Flagging smartphone giant Nokia has announced plans to move parts of it manufacturing capabilities to the Far East in a move that will result in 4,000 redundancies.
Following a review of manufacturing facilities in Hungary, Mexico and Finland, the company will be shifting device assembly to factories in Asia. However, the aforementioned locations will still be used for "smartphone product customisation".
"Shifting device assembly to Asia is targeted at improving our time to market. By working more closely with our suppliers, we believe that we will be able to introduce innovations into the market more quickly and ultimately be more competitive," commented Niklas Savander, Nokia executive vice president, markets, in a statement. "We recognise the planned changes are difficult for our employees and we are committed to supporting our personnel and their local communities during the transition."
The statement added that the planned reduction in headcount will be implemented by the close of this year.
Nokia is in the process of attempting to halt a decline which has seen its share of the smartphone market plummet from 46.9% in 2009 to 22% by the end of 2011, according to Gartner statistics. Most of this share has been conceded to Apple's iPhone and devices based on Google's Android platform, which between them have gobbled up a large share of the market in the past two years.
In an effort to counter this slump, Nokia in early 2011 appointed former Microsoft executive Stephen Elop as CEO. Elop, the first non-Finn to guide the company, shortly after his appointment uncloaked plans to abandon Nokia's long-time platform Symbian in favour of Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 operating system. The first smartphone based on this platform, Lumia, was released in late 2011.
Nokia's latest strategy has not been without its casualties. Prior to today's restructuring announcement, the company had already lopped 7,000 staff off the payroll, although 3,000 of these were outsourced to Accenture.